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The Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor was established in 1795 by Anne Parrish, a young Quaker woman who wished to address the issues of poverty which had become aggravated following the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. She founded the society with the help of 23 other Quaker women, who began travelling around the city seeking those in need, especially the widows and children of Yellow Fever victims. At first, help was given in the form of food, clothing, or money for fuel. Soon, the Female Society decided that more permanent help was necessary, and that it would be more productive to give the needy a way to earn their own money. The Female Society established a House of Industry, which employed women to spin flax and wool. In 1799, to accommodate those workers with young children, a daycare center was opened at the House of Industry, possibly the first of its kind in the country. The Female Society was incorporated in 1815, and established a constitution and by-laws. The House of Industry reached its peak around 1854, when it employed 154 women and had 73 children in the nursery. In 1916, the Female Society joined the Philadelphia Society for the Instruction and Employment of the Poor to establish the Catherine Street House of Industry. By this time, more jobs had been made available to women elsewhere, so the majority of the Female Society’s workers were elderly and in need of less physically strenuous occupations. In the Catherine Street House of Industry, the women sewed for hospitals and other charity organizations in exchange for small weekly wages and a hot meal every day. The sewing room was closed in 1949, and the Female Society established in its place the Friends House for Older Neighbors. In 1959, the Female Society established a new, larger organization called the Philadelphia Center for Older People, which included non-Quakers and men on its board. Today, the Philadelphia Center for Older People has evolved into the Philadelphia Senior Center.

The collection includes mostly administrative records, as well as pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and photographs from major gatherings and events. The charter from the Female Society’s incorporation in 1815 is also included. The collection spans from the Female Society’s founding in 1795, until 1978.


466 items

Female Society of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of the Poor Records

The “Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians by Pacific Measures” was established in 1756 by a group of eminent Quakers in Philadelphia following months of horrific violence between settlers and Native Americans on the Pennsylvania frontier.

The Friendly Association papers contain hundreds of unique and detailed accounts of behind-the-scenes treaty negotiations; historical documents dating back to the early years of Pennsylvania related to work with Indigenous groups; the correspondence of Pemberton and others relating to fund-raising and the exigencies of Pennsylvania politics; and missives from Indian leaders, transcribed or otherwise transmitted by an intricate network of Indian “go-betweens” who maintained almost constant contact with the Association.


707 items

Friendly Association Papers

This collection includes selections from Friends Hospital records, including annual reports and superintendents’ daybooks. Friends Hospital was founded by Philadelphia-area Quakers in 1813 under the name ‘The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason.’ Their mission statement was: “To provide for the suitable accommodation of persons who are or may be deprived of the use of their reason and the maintenance of an asylum for their reception, which is intended to furnish, besides requisite medical aid, such tender, sympathetic attention as may soothe their agitated minds, and under the Divine Blessing, facilitate their recovery.” In 1817, the hospital accepted its first patients. Friends Asylum was the first private psychiatric hospital in the United States, and one of the first mental hospitals to use moral treatment, which eschewed corporal punishment for the patients and advocated treating them with respect and compassion.


20 items

Friends Hospital Collection

On October 29, 2020, a group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students at Haverford organized a strike “in response to the continued racism and anti-Blackness perpetrated by the Haverford College administration.” (FAQs For Concerned Parents, ca. November 3, 2020) The strike was precipitated by an email from President Wendy Raymond and Dean Joyce Bylander discouraging students from attending protests in Philadelphia following the killing of Walter Wallace Jr. by the Philadelphia Police. However, strike organizers stated that the email was only one incident in the “long tradition of anti-Blackness and the erasure of marginalized voices that have come to characterize the experiences of students of color at Haverford” (Letter to President Raymond and Dean Bylander, October 29, 2020), including what students saw as an inadequate response to an open letter from Black Students Refusing Further Inaction in June 2020. 

Organized by Black Students Refusing Further Inaction (BSRFI), Women of Color (WOC) House, the Black Students League (BSL), and other student of color-led groups, the strike lasted fourteen days, ending on November 11, 2020. During that time, participating students struck from classes, on-campus jobs, and school-sponsored activities. Strike organizers issued a set of demands to the College administration requiring institutional commitments to dismantling racist and white supremacist structures--accompanied by budgets and concrete timelines--before they would consider ending the strike.

This collection includes documents created by Haverford student strike organizers and participants, students who chose not to participate in the strike, and members of the Haverford faculty, staff, and senior administration. Materials include email correspondence; departmental statements; news articles; social media posts; photographs; posters and stencils; video recordings and transcripts of student town halls, negotiation meetings, and teach-ins; organizational materials pertaining to food distribution and mutual aid; and much more. Web captures of the Haverford College Strike website have been archived and are available for viewing here.

Archival staff have identified and credited individual and group creators of materials wherever possible. If you wish to be credited as the creator of a specific item or items, please contact archival staff at with links to the item(s) in question. If you would like materials you created taken down or would like your name as creator removed from an item, please contact archival staff at the same email address.

Materials will continue to be added in the coming months. If you are interested in donating materials pertaining to the strike, please contact

The College Archives thanks the Haverford community members who helped gather materials and build this collection, including the Documenting Student Life student liaisons and the numerous creators of collection materials. This collection would not be possible without your work and generosity.

A small number of items this collection can only be viewed by Haverford, BiCollege, or TriCollege users. Please login with your institutional credentials to access additional materials.


607 items

Poster with strike demand number 4, created with a stencil made by Daniela Moreira

This collection includes oral history interviews with BIPOC Haverford alumni conducted by current Haverford College students. These interviews were conducted as part of Haverford College Libraries Documenting Student Life Project.

Some oral histories in this collection can only be viewed by Haverford, BiCollege, or TriCollege users. Please login with your institutional credentials to access additional interviews.


15 items

Haverford Alumni of Color Oral History Collection


Other Participating Institutions